As a part of our recovery series, Lamar Slay, the father of one of our amazing founders of The Fullbrook Center, Josh Slay, penned a touching story about Josh’s recovery.
“The longest 45 minutes of my life!”
A little over 11 years ago I spent the longest 45 minutes of my life driving my son, Josh, to a homeless shelter in downtown Dallas. After six rehab stays and multiple second chances, it was his only option. The previous five times we kicked him out for using, he had somewhere to go. But now he had alienated all his friends and the drug dealers were looking for him to collect money. We had allowed him to come home for the Easter weekend. He attended Easter services, he even served in the parking lot. But on Saturday night, he came home and got high on a can of compressed air used to clean dust from your keyboard.
As we drove to downtown Dallas, a million thoughts flew through my mind. The thought of all the horrible things that could happen to him while living in a homeless shelter was almost too much. But one thing I knew: If he, like the prodigal, did not come to himself soon, he would never turn his life around. If he did not turn his life around, I was convinced he would not live much longer. Death was imminent.
As he got out of my truck in front of the homeless shelter with his backpack containing all he owned, I told him I loved him. He took his place in line with the 50/60-year-old men to get a bed. The drive to my office that day was spent questioning if we had done the right thing. By the time I got to my office, my shirt was soaked by the tears that came from saying good-bye to a son I feared I’d never see again.
He stayed at the shelter for a week and then left. On the following Sunday morning, he texted me saying he was sorry for all the trouble he had caused his mom and I. He said he was taking all his meds and was going to end his life. He went dark and I thought he had succeeded. I spent the next several days checking the morgues in our area looking for his body. No luck.
On Tuesday night my phone rang. The caller ID said it was from the county hospital in Ft Worth. Josh was calling from the psych ward. His first words to me were, “Dad, I’m ticked!” When I asked why, he said, “I can’t even kill myself!” My response was, “Josh you have never wavered that you invited Christ into your heart when you and I prayed when you were eight. I believe God has something for you to do. He’s not done with you yet!”
A lady, who I will forever believe was an angel from God, had found him passed out by a dumpster in Arlington, Texas and called 911. She took a picture of him, found him on Facebook, and sent it to him. Something snapped. A young orderly who was mopping the floor told him, “Josh, you are just like the prodigal. You need to come to yourself.” He left the psych ward, another short stint to get clean, and then to a sober house. There he got passionate about helping others get clean, got serious about his relationship with God, and began to share his story. He has been clean ever since!
This month marks 11 years. A fight with cancer has only made him stronger as has his marriage to Jessica, a super-star counselor in her own right. Two years ago, they founded The Fullbrook Center, a trauma and substance abuse recovery center for women in Fredericksburg, TX. That passion for helping others has only grown stronger and more powerful. God has uniquely gifted him and Jessica with the ability to help women in their battle with addiction and dealing with trauma. God is using them in an unbelievable way. They are touching lives every day! Parents there is still hope. Never give up! And don’t be afraid to take the drive.
Josh Slay, we are so proud of you! Jessica Slay, thank you for completing him!